If you're a worship leader, chances are you've been in this situation at some point. You start off your worship set right at the beginning of service, and you can tell, not very many people are connecting. You try that second song that everyone knows, which gets more people moving their lips, but you're still not feeling that connection. The third, maybe fourth song flies by and then you pray and the worship time is over, leaving you with a feeling that the people you were supposed to lead into worship just listened to your music the whole time instead of connecting with God.
Here are a few tips that can keep people engaged in rough circumstances like early morning, daylight savings time, everybody's-coming-in-late worship sets.
1) Communicate Expectancy. Communicate to your tech team, worship team and to the congregation that you expect that God is going to do awesome things during the worship time. Chances are, if people are expecting three songs nicely played, that's all they're going to get. But if they expect to chase after God and all that He has for them, they'll dive into worship and meet the creator of the universe who is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.
2) Avoid distractions. If they're not connecting right from the start, little distractions can be even more potent than normal. Make sure your sound, lights, and graphics team is on the ball, and have everything that you can planned out ahead of time.
3) Check your face.Make sure you're joyful, not glum. Make sure you're smiling at people, and making a connection with your eyes. Don't just close your eyes for half an hour and expect people to follow you. Good leaders make connections with the people they're leading. Also, making sure you look like you came prepared to worship can encourage others to enter in with you. People want to follow someone who knows where they're going!
4) Be Spontaneous. If people aren't connecting to the songs the way that you planned them, change your plan! Make sure that your worship team and graphics team can handle this first though! Maybe a new song isn't the best second song in your setlist if people are on the verge of falling asleep. Or, maybe what the congregation needs is a song that is made up on the spot that identifies with the church at that moment.
5) Worship. Regardless of where the congregation is at spiritually, just worship. Jesus said that if He will be lifted up, He'll draw all men unto Himself. Trust that God will inhabit Your praises and begin to work on other people's hearts as you worship Him. Paul and Silas weren't trying to lead the prison into worship when they were locked up. They were just worshipping God by themselves and then all of the other prisoner's chains were broken. Make sure you and Your team are lifting up Jesus, and God will take care of the rest.
Can you think of any other tips?
What do you do in awkward situations or services that feel dry?
i kind of identify myself with what you have just stated i do find myself in that situation where you lead your congregation but you feel not connected and at last you also feel not fulfilled and there are times when together with the congregation we just get soaked and just feel like not stopping the worship before the pastor comes! lol in a service that feels dry in most cases it helps to introduce a song that easily pull people. therefore as a worship leader be aware of such songs and at what point to introduce them. Starting with such songs makes the work almost done.